JS, History, 1838–1856, vol. D-1, created 4 July 1845–4 Feb. 1846 and 1 July 1854–2 May 1855; handwriting of , Robert L. Campbell, and ; 275 pages, plus 6 pages of addenda; CHL. This is the fourth volume of a six-volume manuscript history of the church. This fourth volume covers the period from 1 Aug. 1842 to 1 July 1843; the remaining five volumes, labeled A-1, B-1, C-1, E-1 and F-1, continue through 8 Aug. 1844.
History, 1838–1856, volume D-1, constitutes the fourth of six volumes documenting the life of Joseph Smith and the early years of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The series is also known as the Manuscript History of the Church and was originally published serially from 1842 to 1846 and 1851 to 1858 as the “History of Joseph Smith” in the Times and Seasons and Deseret News. This volume contains JS’s history from 1 August 1842 to 1 July 1843, and it was compiled after JS’s death.
The material recorded in volume D-1 was initially compiled under the direction of church historian , with the assistance of . After Richards’s death in 1854, continued work on the volume as the new church historian with Bullock’s continued help. The process adopted by Richards and Bullock involved Richards creating a set of rough draft notes and Bullock transcribing the notes into the volume along with the text of designated documents (such as letters and meeting minutes). George A. Smith followed a similar pattern, though he dictated the draft notes to Bullock and other scribes.
According to the Church Historian’s Office journal, finished the third volume of the series, volume C-1, on Thursday, 3 July 1845, in , Illinois. He began work on the fourth volume, D-1, the next day, beginning on page 1362 with the entry for 1 August 1842. (The pages in volumes A-1–E-1 were numbered consecutively.) Bullock continued work on the record, drawing upon ’s draft notes, until 3 February 1846—the day before D-1 and the other volumes were packed up in preparation for the Latter-day Saints’ exodus from Nauvoo. At that point he had reached page 1485 with the entry for 28 February 1843. Subsequently, apparently after the collection had arrived in Utah, Bullock added a brief comment beneath that entry: “end of W. Richard’s compiling[.] the books packed Feby. 4— 1846 in Nauvoo[.] Miles Romney— present. The records carried by T Bullock from Winter Quarters to G S L [Great Salt Lake] City in 1848.”
A notation at the top of page 1486 reports that “the books were unpacked in G. S. L. City by and . June 7. 1853. J[onathan] Grimshaw & Miles Romney present.” Vertically, in the margin, is a poignant epitaph: “Decr. 1 1853 Dr. Willard Richards wrote one line of History—being sick at the time—and was never able to do any more.” With Richards’s death on 11 March 1854, JS’s cousin was called to the office of church historian. The notation on the top of page 1486 acknowledges this change in officers, noting, “commencement of George A. Smith’s compiling as Historian. April 13. 1854[.] [C]ommenced copying July 1. 1854.” From mid-April to the end of June 1854, George A. Smith, in collaboration with Thomas Bullock, worked on the draft notes for the history before a new scribe, , resumed writing in D-1 on 1 July 1854, beginning with the entry for 1 March 1843.
continued transcribing intermittently into the late fall of 1854, when he was assigned other duties in the Historian’s Office. He had reached page 1546 with the entry for 5 May 1843. Work resumed in February 1855 in the hand of Robert L. Campbell, recently returned from a mission. He concluded volume D-1 on the morning of 2 May 1855 and began writing in E-1 that afternoon.
The 274 pages of volume D-1 contain a record of much that is significant in the life of JS and the development of the church he founded. Among these events are
• JS’s 6 August 1842 prophecy that the Saints would become a mighty people in the midst of the Rocky Mountains.
•JS’s 8 August 1842 arrest on a warrant for being “an accessory before the fact” to an attack on former governor .
• ’s 17 August 1842 letter to governor , pleading for the humane treatment of her husband and family.
•JS’s 1 and 6 September 1842 instructions regarding the proper procedures for performing baptisms for the dead.
• JS’s 15 November 1842 “Valedictory” as he stepped down as editor of the Times and Seasons.
• The 26 December 1842 arrest of JS on a “proclamation” by former governor , and subsequent hearing in , Illinois.
• The 7 February 1843 recovery of a volume of patriarchal blessings given by , which had been stolen in , Missouri.
• JS’s 21 February 1843 remarks regarding the and .
• JS’s 2 April 1843 instruction at , Illinois, on the nature of God and other subjects.
• JS’s 16 May 1843 remarks at , Illinois, on the everlasting covenant and eternal marriage.
• The account of JS’s 23 June 1843 arrest and his hearing the following week at .
“Dear Sir, It is with sensations of deep regret and poignant grief that I sit down to dictate a few lines to you, this morning, to let you know what my feelings are in relation to yourself, as it is against my principles to act the part of a hypocrite, or to dissemble in anywise whatever, with any man. I have tried for a long time to smother my feelings, and not let you know, that I thought, that you were secretly and underhandedly, doing all you could, to take the advantage, and injure me: but whether my feelings are right or wrong, remains for Eternity to reveal. I cannot any longer forbear throwing off the mask, and let you [HC 5:312] know of the secret wranglings of my heart; that you may not be deceived, in relation to them, and that you may be prepared, Sir, to take whatever course you see proper in the premises. I am, sir, honest, when I say that I believe, and am laboring under the fullest convictions that you are actually practicing deception and wickedness against me and the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that you are in connection with , and , in the whole of their abominable practices in seeking to destroy me and this people, and that , is as deep in the mud, as you, sir, are in the mire, in your conspiracies, and that you are in the exercise of a traitorous spirit against our lives and interest by combining with our enemies, and the murderous Missourians, my feelings, sir, have been wrought upon to a very great extent, in relation to yourself, ever since soon after the first appearance of in this place, there has been something dark and mysterious hovering over our business concerns that are not only palpable but altogether unaccountable, in relation to the Post Office, and Sir, from the very first of the pretensions of , to secure to me the Post Office, (which by the bye I have never desired, if I could have justice done me <in that department> without my occupancy.) I have known, sir, that it was a fraud practiced upon me, and of the secret plottings and connivings between him and yourself in relation to the matter the whole time, as well as many other things which I have kept locked up in my own bosom but I am constrained at this time, to make known my feelings to you. I do not write this with the intention of insulting you or of bearing down upon you, or with a desire to take any advantage of you, or with the intention of even laying one straw in your way, detrimental to your character or influence, or to suffer anything whatever that has taken place, which is within my observation, or that has come to my knowledge to go abroad, betraying any confidence that has ever been placed in me but I do assure you most sincerely that what I have said I verily believe, and this is the reason why I have said it, that you may know the real convictions of my heart, not because I have any malice or hatred, neither would I injure one hair of your head, and I will assure you that these convictions are attended with the deepest sorrow. I wish to God it were not so, and that I could get rid of the achings of my heart on that subject: and I now notify you, that unless something should take place to restore my mind to its former confidence in you, by some acknowledgements on your part, or some explanations, that shall do away my jealousies, I must, as a conscientious man, publish my withdrawal of my fellowship from you to the Church, through the medium of the Times and Seasons and demand of the Conference a hear[HC 5:313]ing concerning your case; that on conviction of justifiable grounds, they will demand your license. I could say much more but let the above suffice for the present.